Harry to miss Philip’s memorial service

The Duke of Sussex is to miss his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service, it has been confirmed.

Harry will not return to the UK from the US to join the royal family at the high-profile occasion in Westminster Abbey on March 29, a spokesperson for the duke confirmed.

He hopes to visit his grandmother the Queen soon, the spokesperson added.

Duke of Edinburgh tribute
Harry with the Duke of Edinburgh in 2013 (David Crump/PA)

The Queen, 95, who contracted Covid just over two weeks ago, has just pulled out of attending the Commonwealth Day service at the abbey on Monday.

She spent more than three months from October last year carrying out only light duties under doctors’ orders to rest after undergoing preliminary tests during a one-night hospital stay.

The monarch, who has just reached her Platinum Jubilee, now regularly uses a walking stick and has been pictured looking frailer recently, remarking during a Windsor Castle audience last month: “Well, as you can see, I can’t move.”

Harry’s spokesperson declined to comment on Friday as to the reason for his decision.

Audiences at Windsor Castle
The Queen during an audience last month (Steve Parsons/PA)

The duke has pursued a legal challenge against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

He was last in London in the summer of 2021, when it is understood his security was compromised after his car was chased by paparazzi photographers as he left a charity event.

The duke wants to bring his son Archie and baby daughter Lilibet to visit from the US, but he and his family are “unable to return to his home” because it is too dangerous, a legal representative previously said.

The judge in the High Court case, Mr Justice Swift, will give his ruling on February’s preliminary proceedings, part of which may be confidential, at a later date.

Philip died just under a year ago in April 2021 at the age of 99.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral
Peter Phillips, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex attend the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh (Alastair Grant/PA)

Harry flew back from California, without the Duchess of Sussex who was heavily pregnant at the time, to attend the duke’s funeral in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The guest list was trimmed from 800 to only 30 guests amid Covid restrictions, and the Queen sat alone in mourning for her husband of 73 years.

The service of thanksgiving for Philip in just over two weeks’ time is a chance for family, friends, dignitaries and representatives of the charities and organisations which Philip was associated with to gather together in tribute to him.

Harry – one of the Queen and Philip’s eight grandchildren – last returned to the UK to unveil the statue of his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales on July 1 with the Duke of Cambridge.

The brothers have faced a long-reported rift.

The day before on June 30, Harry met seriously ill children and young people at a WellChild garden party and afternoon tea in Kew Gardens, west London, after which he was said to have been chased by the paparazzi.

Harry quit as a senior working royal in 2020 and moved to the US with Meghan for a new life of personal and financial freedom.

The Sussexes’ controversial Oprah Winfrey television interview left the monarchy facing a crisis in March 2021 amid the lingering fallout from Megxit.

Harry and Meghan accused an unnamed royal of racism against their son Archie before he was born and the institution of failing to help Meghan when she was suicidal.